I’m Only Half-Serious
“I’d like to order a whole chicken,” I said to the man behind the counter at the barbeque restaurant.
“Sorry, dude,” he replied. “We don’t have whole chickens.”
“Oh, okay. Well, what should I get for a family of four?”
“How about two half-chickens.”
So I wrote a letter to the manager at Red Hot & Blue:
To Whom It May Concern,
Please be advised that two halves equal one whole.
A Mathematically Literate Customer
Of course, there are those who could be convinced that 1 = 1/2. Let a = b. Then,
a2 = ab
a2 – b2 = ab – b2
(a + b)(a – b) = b(a – b)
a + b = b
a + a = a
2a = a
2 = 1
2 ÷ 2 = 1 ÷ 2
1 = 1/2
A lot of confusion about halves and wholes occurs in classrooms, too.
Teacher: Who can give me some examples of whole numbers?
Student: 0, 6, 8, 9.
Teacher: What about 10?
Student: That’s only a half-whole, since 1 doesn’t have a hole in it.